Irenaeus, Apostolic Succession, and the One True Faith

Saint Irenaeus

By: William Hemsworth

In the second century Gnosticism threatened to tear the young Christian Church apart.  It was a heresy that taught that all matter was evil, Jesus was spirit, and that true salvific doctrine was passed down through a secret oral tradition.  To combat this growing problem the early Church father St. Irenaeus wrote a lengthy treatise titled Against Heresies

Foundations Of The Creed

One of the methods used by the great Church Father was the rule of faith.  In describing the rule of faith Irenaeus writes, “The Church, though dispersed through our the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, has received from the apostles and their disciples this faith: [She believes] in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation.”

This rule of faith would lay the groundwork for what would become the Apostles’ Creed.  St. Irenaeus argues that the faith was given by Christ to the Apostles, and then to the bishops to whom the disciples appointed.  Which is exactly what the Catholic church teaches today.

The Historic Faith

The rule of faith also shows that Christ was truly incarnate, and that matter was created by an eternal God and not evil.  The rule of faith was a vital part in combating Gnostic teaching because it showed that they had no historical, scriptural, or apostolic support for the claims that they were making.

Incarnation of Jesus

It helped expose their schismatic and anti-scriptural view of Christianity.  Irenaeus also appealed to Ephesians 1:9-10 in his refutation of Gnosticism.  That passage of scripture states, “he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth (NRSV).”  The great saint used this to show that, contrary to the Gnostic view, not all matter is bad.

One Faith Given By Christ

The Church was to be a unified body of believers with Jesus Christ as its head.  However the Gnostic heresy was causing division.  It is linked with the rule of faith in that there was only one faith handed down from Christ.  There was not one faith for one group, and a special secret faith for a select few.  The faith in Christ is available to all people and in that we should be unified.

The rule of faith previously cited is a great tool in confronting false doctrines in our own times  There is no shortage of false doctrine and some of these groups out there are great at evangelization.  This is impressive given how low their numbers are compared to Catholics.  The rule of faith is a great tool because it shows that the catholic faith is not a new invention, but was passed down by Christ himself.

It shows that Christ is God incarnate, and firmly teaching that the Trinity is one being with three distinct persons.  Many of these groups deny the Trinity and claim scriptural support.  Many of these passages were used in the days of Irenaeus and he corrected false usage.

Go preach the gospel

Whether it be in person, phone, or email, a dialogue about the truth can mean a lot to someone caught in false doctrine.  It gives them someone to ask questions to and the Holy Spirit can plant a seed.  Many great saints came to faith in just that way.


About our guest blogger:

William is a convert to the Catholic faith.  Before entering the church he was ordained as a Baptist and Lutheran and earned a Master of Divinity from Liberty Theological Seminary.  William lives with his wife and four children in Tucson, AZ and teaches religious education for children and adults.  Check out his website/blog at williamhemsworth.com for more great and informative Catholic content!


 

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Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted pray for us!

The Blessed Virgin Mary provides great consolation in time of need.

The stress and unknown due to the coronavirus makes life quite confusing. Here is a prayer I recently learned about that gave me peace. Our Lady Comforter OG the Afflicted is a powerful intercessor. Mary is closest to Her Son—Jesus Christ.

I hope this prayer brings you some comfort like it has for me.

Prayer to Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted

Immaculate Virgin Mary,
Mother of God and our most compassionate Mother,
we present ourselves in thy sight in all humility,
and with full confidence
we implore thee for thy maternal patronage.

Thou hast been proclaimed by Holy Church
the Comforter of the Afflicted,
and to thee constant recourse is had
by the sorrowful in their afflictions,
the sick in their maladies,
the dying in their agony,
the poor in their straitened circumstances,
those who stand in all manner of need
in both public and private calamities;
and from thee they all receive consolation and strength.

Our dearest Mother,
turn upon us also,
wretched sinners that we are,
thy merciful eyes,
and graciously accept our humble and confident prayers.
Aid us in all our spiritual and temporal necessities,
deliver us from all evil
and especially from sin,
which is the greatest evil,
and from all danger of falling into it;
obtain for us from thy Son Jesus
every blessing of which thou seest we stand in need
both in soul and body,
and especially the greatest blessing of all,
which is Divine grace.
Comfort our spirits,
troubled and afflicted in the midst of the many dangers that threaten us,
and the countless miseries and misfortunes that beset us on every side.
This we ask through that immense joy
which filled thy pure soul
in the glorious Resurrection of thy Divine Son.

Obtain tranquillity for Holy Church,
help and comfort for her visible Head,
the Sovereign Pontiff,
peace for Christian princes,
refreshment in their pains for the Holy Souls in Purgatory;
for sinners, the forgiveness of their sins,
and for the just, perseverance in well-doing.
Receive us all, our most tender Mother,
under thy loving and mighty protection,
that we may be enabled to live virtuously,
die holily and attain to everlasting happiness in Heaven.

Amen.

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3 Reasons Why Mary is the Devil’s Greatest Enemy

mary and satan

 

 

 

 

 


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 13, 2017.


God is Not Satan’s Biggest Rival

According to St. Louis de Montfort, “[Mary] is the safest, easiest, shortest and most perfect way of approaching Jesus and will surrender themselves to her, body and soul, without reserve in order to belong entirely to Jesus (True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary ). Even though I am a life-long Catholic this quote caught me off guard. It seemed too intrepid and I thought it was statements like this that bred the Catholic caricature in the mind of Protestants.

I have since been graced with the understanding that the above quote by the French saint is true and a vital truth in our Catholic faith. Earlier this week I start a Marian consecration with my parish disciple group [communal level] and with my wife [private level]. This will culminate on the centennial anniversary of Mary’s Apparition at Fatima.

Like with most of my daily blog topics, my original topic I wanted did not match what I actually wrote. Today is no different. To be honest, I had an urging of the Holy Spirit to write about Mary during my drive back to work during the noon hour. Let me explain why I believe Mary is the prime foe to Satan. I will incorporate Scripture, writing from St. Louis de Montfort, and my own personal experience as evidence to back this claim.

Enmity Predicted in Genesis 3:15

Mary Devil's enemy

Listen to the words of the inspired writer in Genesis, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head,while you strike at their heel.” The word enmity actually means malice, hostility, or antagonism. No simple division occurred between the woman [Mary] and the serpent [Satan]. There is an antagonistic battle between the two. Interestingly enough, this theme is found in the other bookend of the Bible in the Book of Revelation.

Opposites Don’t Attract

Unlike the adage, “opposites attract” or the truth revealed when playing with magnets, in the case of Mary versus Satan—OPPOSITES DO NOT ATTRACT! St. Louis de Montfort sums it ups both concisely and beautifully, “What Lucifer lost by pride Mary won by humility” (True Devotion 53). Mary’s powerful intercessory power comes from her intimate union with God through her silent prayer and pondering heart. The devil as his weapon of choice is noise and chaos. He wants to increase the “decibels” so our spiritual life never takes root in the silent pondering before God.

Bullies Are Scared of Their Victim’s Mothers

A friend of mine told our discipleship group earlier this week, “Satan will hate you for starting this Marian consecration”. I curiosity asked, “How so?” He went on to tell about his temptations and struggles when he began a similar journey a few years ago. His foreshadowing came true today.

My family’s morning started off hectic and the stress only increased and even doubled down as the day went on. But viewing Mary as the greatest enemy of Satan makes perfect sense of today’s turmoil.

Bullies like Satan tend to get really self-defensive when their victims’ mother intervenes. If anyone bullied my son, I would warn the bully ahead of time to be more afraid of my wife than me. In a similar way, the silent salvo our Salve Regina unleashes on the Devil may intensify during the ensuing days of my Marian consecration.

Before I conclude, I do want to provide a qualifying statement to any non-Catholic reader. I do not intend to place Mary at the equal level of God. She is not God. However, Catholics honor Mary as the most perfect creation of God. We also honor her as the Mother of God.

Mary is doorway to God

I will leave you with words of wisdom from St. Louis, “The Son of God became man for our salvation but only in Mary and through Mary” (True Devotion 16). Let us thank God for allowing Mary to be a doorway upon which we may experience God’s graces.

Related Links

Mary’s Enmity Towards Satan Was Absolute

Why Mary is the Mortal Enemy of Satan

De Montfort: Mary in the Struggle Against Satan

 

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3 Ways Your Words Can Infect Others with Kindness

Word have power

Words hurt more than weapons in the age of social media. Communication is instant. Less than it takes you to snap your fingers you can receive a direct message or email from someone across the globe. During the current global pandemic the human race is experiencing similar things more than any other time in history.

People largely respond in two ways to a stressful situation. Selfish or selfless. The dichotomy could not be starker in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Hoarding toilet paper was the initial selfish reply to the panic. Now that the first wave of angst has passed people are now getting restless. Self-quarantine or local curfews in some larger cities have lead to cabin fever. Really it’s cabin fever multiplied by hundred. I have noticed more snarky, sarcastic, rude, and angry social media posts. It is understandable to be frustrated, but it never gives anyone a right to treat others with disrespect. To combat the negativity I am sharing three tactics of how to use your words to provide unity and build up your neighbor.

Silence is Golden

According to St. John of the Cross, “Whenever anything disagreeable or displeasing happens to you, remember Christ crucified and be silent.” Today’s world rewards people speaking their mind. Bad press is good press. At least that is the philosophy of many who believe that getting your name in the news is better than remaining in anonymity.  Voicing your opinion on social media opens up the possibility for Internet trolls to bombard threads with hate and ignorance. Your first reaction may be to reply with a similar negative tone.

Silence is the best weapon against hateful, prideful, or narrow-minded comments. It doesn’t come natural to practice silence when someone attacks your ideas or character. What helps me is to remember how Jesus replied as the crowd jeered at him on the Cross. He didn’t yell or jeer back. Instead, he prayed. Jesus asked his Father to be merciful, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Remaining silent during an argument online or in real life is difficult, but not impossible. It is necessary if you want to become a better version of yourself.

tame your tongue

Give Compliments and not Complaints

Another strategy in controlling the sins of the tongue is to give a compliment as opposed to a complaint. Negative news surrounds us daily. It’s much more interesting. It usually takes at least twice as many positive thoughts to cancel out a negative one.

But try that exercise. Whenever you find yourself tempted to complain do the following:

  • Pause
  • Write your complaint on a post-it note
  • Crumple up the note and throw it in the trash
  • Write a compliment about yourself or give someone else a compliment

Forming new habits takes practice. Hard work. But if you consistently remind yourself to shift your mind from complaints to compliments it will become easier over time. Eventually it will become natural for your to give compliments.

God over Gossip

The last tactic in the battle over the tongue is to pray more. Sounds simple. It is simple, but its not always easy. Gossip is an easily accepted sin. People don’t think it is that bad compared to “mortal sins”.  The Bible provides clear direction on this subject. Leviticus 19:16 states, “Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people.” It is quite clear. Don’t engage in gossip. How exactly do you stave off the temptation to gossip? Fill your mind with holy thoughts. Ask God for help. Praying is nothing more than talking to God. Petition the Holy Spirit. Thank God for the blessings in your life. Praise Jesus for his sacrifice on Calvary. All those will orient yourself toward the Holy Trinity and away from gossip.

kindness is contagious

Avoiding negative comments, complaints or gossip goes a long way towards shifting your mindset. Add in compliment about yourself or others and you will soon notice an overall change in your attitude. You will become more patience, kinder, and generous. Kindness is always in style evevn during the coronavirus pandemic. Change the world by controlling your words. Choose kindness over anger. Build up your immunity against negativity. Don’t let pessimism infect you. Kindness is a good contagion to spread!

 

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Detective Daddy Episode 3: Shenanigans Infect Us All

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Characters:

Detective Daddy: Me

Muffin Miscreant [mentioned]: Avila

Apple Aficionado: Josiah

Setting:

Three years after the events of Detective Daddy Episode 2: Does the Apple Fall Far from the Tree?

Detective

 

 

 

 

 

It was a crisp Friday morning. The sun barely peaked through the cloudy sky. Combined with the moisture from a recent rainfall this created a lingering fog. Detective Daddy yawned. His 15th yawn this hour. Despite having a partner, his casework kept piling up. An erratic work schedule didn’t help.

The private eye had to pick up a second job working at a local grocery store. Detective work wasn’t in demand this year. He enjoyed shopping orders for customers for pick up or delivery. The hours are what killed him. Overnight shifts exhaust a person quickly. “How does Batman do it?” the gumshoe thought to himself. “I know he has the Joker and Arkham Ayslum to manage, but I bet even Muffingate would stump him!”

Shenanigan Sleuths  

Now that was a case which pushed Detective Daddy to the brink. A high level shenanigan event. Plenty of crumbs. Evidence. But the suspect was elusive. Or still is elusive. The prosecution team thought enough evidence existed to put her away for a while.

Simple cases don’t exist. A twist was thrown into the plot. Muffin Mayhem still happened as the original Muffin Miscreant was in custody. Is it a copycat? Master and apprentice dynamic? Mere coincidence? Or some other explanation?

Yawning again, Detective Daddy told his partner, “I need coffee. Let’s get some after your appointment.” The former Apple Aficionado, now known as Josiah, replied, “And go to car wash too? It will help us wake up!”

Smiling to himself, the detective laughed, “Sure! But first coffee, then car wash.” Josiah provided a great help in recent years. A reformed caper working side by side with a detective. Thinking about it still amazed Daddy.

Everyone Commits Shenanigans 

The appointment for Josiah’s training lasted an hour. His junior partner was developing communication skills to help in life and investigating. On the drive back to headquarters, Detective Daddy turned on the radio. After a few minutes he started shaking his head, “Josiah, shenanigans now are infecting adults.” His partner replied, “What is it?” Daddy said, “Panic shopping. It’s the politically correct term for adult shenanigans. People are buying up loads of toilet paper. Now shelves are empty.”

toilet paper

“People can’t wipe their butts?!” Josiah asked. “Sadly, maybe. It is the people who can’t leave their home due to health reasons that might be most affected by it,” the detective retorted.

This conversation continued until they reached headquarters. It looked like a normal house. Attached garage. Nice front yard. But private investigators need to stay amidst the shenanigan scene while keeping their cover too.

Coffee. That was the word on the private eye’s mind the entire morning. A freshly brewed cup with French vanilla cream and a bit of almond milk sounded like bliss. He needed a burst of energy. Something to jolt his investigative juices in his brain back to life.

Opening the door, Detective Daddy noticed something troublesome. Coffee grounds strewn upon the floor. Punctured Keurig cups as well. Shenanigans never take a day off, but never has coffee been involved. This is something Detective Daddy might not be able to overcome. “Caffeine is my lifeblood,” he exclaimed. Looks like we have a new case on our hands!”

coffee meme

More Detective Daddy Cases 

Detective Daddy Episode 1: Mystery of the Sippy Cup Snatcher

Detective Daddy Episode 2: Does the Apple Fall Far from the Tree?

Muffingate 2019


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Thank you for reading and hope you have a blessed day!

 

 

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How to Keep Social Distance in a Fun Way

Flatten the curve COVID-19

 

 

 

 

💡💡💡Social distancing pro tip—buy two yardsticks tips carry around as you walk from parking lots into stores.

Pros:

1️⃣ A yardstick is 3 feet so carrying two will maintain the six foot min.

2️⃣ You can pretend you’re Leonardo from the Ninja Turtles and chop invisible zombies in half while you perform your civic duty.

Cons:

1️⃣ You may look weird. But we have moved past weird A LONG TIME AGO. 😂

How have you managed to maintain social distancing if you had to shop? 

How are you staying sane during this crazy time? 

Share your thoughts in the comments section. 

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How Comic book Heroes can give us hope in the face of the unknown

Fiction help teach us about fact. As an avid fan of comic books and superhero shows, I find a lot of wisdom in the character development and conflicts they face. My favorite superhero is The Flash. Barry Allen encountered suffering throughout his life.

Running away from fear is easy, but it takes courage to face adversity head on. The villain in the first part of Season Six of The Flash resembles our common foe in the COVID-19 virus 🦠. Check out the link below to read more about how Barry Allen’s fight with Bloodwork relates to the pandemic. ⤵️

What ‘The Flash’ can teach us about fear, death and faith in the unknown

Please also check out their latest Kickstarter for a new comic series based on the book of Jonah and J.R.R. Tolkien’s interpretation of that biblical story.

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